Exhibitions - Events - Installations
UNICEF and the George Zongolopoulos Foundation illuminate Zongolopoulos' sculptures for World Childrens' Day20.11.2021

We meet works by George Zongolopoulos in the most emblematic parts of our country. This year, the newly established UNICEF office in Greece celebrates the International Children's Day and informs about the Rights of the Children by illuminating, among others, the public artworks of the sculptor in the well-known blue shade of UNICEF.

The event of the illumination of the public sculptures of George Zongolopoulos took place under the request of UNICEF Greece which was happily accepted by the George Zongolopoulos Foundation that invited to a common action to which immediately responded:
The Municipality of Athens with the hydro-kinetic sculpture "Pentacycle" in conversation with the new fountain in Omonia Square in the center of Athens, the Municipality of Thessaloniki with the Umbrellas that are an integral part of New Waterfront of Thessaloniki and the Municipality of Filothei - Psychiko with Umbrellas at the entrance of the Municipality welcoming the citizens and visitors of this wonderful suburb of Attica. 
At the event took part the beloved Umbrellas sculpture located at the historic Al Alamein Hotel in Egypt, which belongs to the group of EMAAR Misr of the United Arab Emirates.

The following statements were made about the action on November 20 and World Children's Day:

The Diplomatic Representative of UNICEF in Greece Mr. Luciano Calestini“World Children’s Day commemorates the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. We are honored to see the significant and emblematic Zongolopoulos’ sculptures being lit up in blue as we join forces to advocate for child rights in Greece and around the world. It’s a symbolic act that sends a strong message that no child should left behind”.

The Mayor of Athens Mr. Kostas Bakoyannis: "In a time of multiple crises, children's lives are being turned upside down. The pandemic affected learning, development and child protection, and highlighted inequalities in access to services and care. In this unprecedented situation, the children "paid for the marble", losing the physical contact with their school and friendly environment, with the long-term effects being unknown, swimming in uncharted waters. We are proud of the fact that Athens is under the seal of UNICEF Candidate City Friendly for Children: It focuses on the needs of children and young people and adapts services, benefits, actions in this direction. We are firmly committed to improving the city's infrastructure for children: schools, parks, outdoor and indoor playgrounds, playgrounds. A renovated and safe playground, a modern outdoor playground can house dreams, be a way out, even a temporary shelter, away from a toxic environment. In my mind there is always the verse: "defend the child, because if a child is saved, there is hope".

The Mayor of Thessaloniki Mr. Konstantinos Zervas: "George Zongolopoulos himself had characteristically stated:‘ The umbrella as a protective object is familiar to the whole world. We all find protection and warmth under its light dome... '. In view of the 20th of November, the 'Umbrellas' on the new waterfront of Thessaloniki, which bear the seal of this leading sculptor, are illuminated, to send the universal message that we have a duty to protect the rights of all children. Especially in the difficult conditions that the pandemic has created, this message must and deserves to be heard very loudly. "Let us all work for a 'better future for every child', just as this year's theme for World Children's Day urges us."

The EMAAR MISR:
"Emaar and the Al Alamein Hotel stand in solidarity with people throughout the world celebrating World Children’s Day. In honor of the occasion, we join the George Zongolopoulos Foundation and our friends in Greece, jointly illuminating our Umbrellas in UNICEF blue, bringing awareness to such an important cause.".
The President of the George Zongolopoulos Foundation Mr. Nicos Theodoridis:
"George Zongolopoulos had a special care and interest in children and believed that art should reach to schools and public space so that all children can acquire an aesthetic depot.When he had exhibited his sculpture "Spirals" in the National Garden of Greece, the people in charge of the exhibition warned him that his artwork is being destroyed by children who pull the spirals and have fun with their sounds and their restoration.He replied that "it is truly wonderful that children are playing with the sculpture so let them do it and even if it will be destroyed, it can be fixed anyway". At that time the children were discovering a new toy and George Zongolopoulos an unprecedented concept for the 70's, i.e. the participation of the viewer in the operation of an art installation which was later given the term “interaction” and in Greek translated as "diadrasi".George Zongolopoulos' belief that Art should be addressed to children is also reflected when in 1959 he said: "We believe in the constant transformation not only of Art but also of the aesthetics of the public, and we hope that one day will become conceivable the need of a courageous effort by the spiritual people of our country so that the message of abstract art reaches not only the decorations of public spaces, galleries and monuments, but even the elementary school desk which is one of the most tender parts of our culture ".It is a great honor for George Zongolopoulos that UNICEF Greece chose his works to be illuminated for the World Children’s Day.The George Zongolopoulos Foundation as the sole copyright holder of Zongolopoulos’ work, we are pleased to congratulate and thank UNICEF for its choice, as well as thank the Municipalities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Filothei-Psychiko and the EMAAR Misr for responding promptly and illuminating these emblematic sculptures in Greece and Egypt for this important day. "

Photo Credits:

“Pentacycle” in Omonia Square of Athens: UNICEF/Greece/Athanatos

“Umbrellas” in Thessaloniki: UNICEF/Greece/Mintsidou

“Umbrellas” in Filothei-Psychiko: UNICEF/Greece/Athanatos

“Umbrellas” in Egypt: EMMARMisr/ AlAlamein Hotel